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Nov 4, 2014 6:30 AM

Ukraine rebel leader sworn in after vote

The Associated Press

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) The leader of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine has been officially sworn in after an election that has been roundly condemned by the West as destabilizing.

Alexander Zakharchenko was inaugurated Tuesday in a heavily guarded theater in the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk.

Zakharchenko's election was largely a formality as no strong viable candidates opposed him, but separatist authorities have held up the vote as a mandate to pursue their secessionist goals.

Ukraine and Western government say the polls gravely endangered a cease-fire deal agreed early September. In fact, although fighting attenuated after the truce, hostilities have continued almost daily.

That cease-fire agreement signed by rebel leaders, and Ukrainian and Russian officials envisioned local elections being held across the whole of the east, but under Ukrainian law.


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